Cardiff City prolonged their season with a win against Hull City that saw them finish in the play-offs, but sent the away side down into League One as the bottom club on the final day of the Championship season.
Story of the match
Cardiff City boss Neil Harris made one change to his side after the 3-1 win over Middlesbrough at the weekend. Marlon Pack came in for Will Vaulks. Hull City manager Grant McCann made two changes for the game that seemed to many to be a dead rubber, with too many results needing to go the Tigers' way for them to escape relegation - and so it proved.
George Long replaced Matt Ingram in goal, and James Scott came in for Josh Magennis. There was no start for Hull youngster Keane Lewis-Potter, despite many fans calling for him to be given a chance. Club captain Jordy De Vijs was not even in the squad, perhaps suggesting his future may be away from the club.
Robert Glatzel almost put Cardiff one up in the first minute, but Long tipped the effort over the bar and out to safety. James Scott looked dangerous in the early moment, taking on Leandro Bacuna - but the goalkeeper Alex Smithies was equal to his cross.
On five minutes, Glatzel was through on goal but he was unable to take the chance and dragged his effort past the far post. It was a let-off for the Tigers and Cardiff looked like the only team who were going to score. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing had a chance too but put his effort over the the bar.
Hull had a chance on the counter attack on 15 minutes, but Mallik Wilks held onto the ball for too long and didn't find Tom Eaves who had made a great run. Glatzel's header almost found the far corner minutes later, but George Long managed to save it. Cardiff were ahead seconds later, though. Junior Hoilett ran unchallenged into the area to fire his side into the lead. This meant Hull City have now failed to keep a clean sheet in 20 games.
Hull had a blatant penalty call ignored. Joe Bennett upended Mallik Wilks in the area but somehow both the referee and the linesman were blind to it. Wilks had a shot blocked by Curtis Nelson as Hull tried to find their way into the game.
Cardiff were dangerous on the counter and from a Hull corner, Dan Batty produced a magnificent last ditch challenge to deny Cardiff a second; but from the resulting corner, Sean Morrison took advantage of poor marking to power home from ten yards out.
Hull came close from a Ryan Tafazolli header on 40 minutes, but the away side couldn't make any chances count and looked destined to finish bottom of the table. Mendez-Laing should have made it 3-0 but Long managed to scramble the ball away.
As the second half kicked off, Hull were set to finish bottom and Cardiff to finish 5th with the impact of the other results. Hull tried to carve out the openings but the closest the came was Mallik Wilks' volley was well saved by Smithies. Leo Da Silva worked a chance well for Wilks but again the Cardiff defense smothered the ball away.
Hull made a triple change on the hour mark with Martin Samuelson, Jon Toral and Keane Lewis-Potter coming on for James Scott, George Honeyman and Tom Eaves to try inject some confidence into the side. In truth Hull were the better side at the start of the second half but they just couldn't find the net. Hoilett came off for Vaulks for the home side not long after.
Hull battled but Cardiff looked comfortable. Danny Ward and Josh Murphy entered the fray as the game fizzled out somewhat. Keane Lewis-Potter looked to be a bright spark, turning his man inside out before carving out a chance that the Cardiff defender just scrambled away. Callum Elder hobbled off on 75 minutes, with Shaun McLoughlin replacing him.
A Lee Tomlin free kick was saved by George Long on 83 minutes, only for Danny Ward to smash the ball home to make it 3-0 to the home side and really rub salt into Hull's wounds.
Takeaways from the match
Cardiff needed to avoid defeat to get into the play-offs, and they did that with ease. They never really got out of second gear and will look to kick on and get back up to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Hull City finished bottom for the first season since the 1995/96 season, and despite some good passages of play, the odds were already stacked against them. They will have a massive job to stabilize in League One next year.
Stand out players
Sean Morrison was excellent for the home side - strong at the back and got a goal with a thumping header in the first half. For Hull City, Honeyman grafted well and Keane Lewis-Potter looked lively when he came on, but the gulf in quality between both sides was there for all to see.
Up next for both
Cardiff City move into the play-offs where they will meet Fulham. Hull City now return to the third tier of English football for the first time since 2005.
Cardiff City: Smithies; Bacuna, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett; Pack, Ralls (Smith 85'), Tomlin (Paterson 85'), Mendez-Laing (Murphy 72'); Hoilett (Vaulks 63'), Glatzel (Ward 72').
Substitutions (not used): Etheridge, Sanderson, Flint, Bamba.
Hull City: Long; Da Silva, Tafazolli, Macdonald, Elder (McLoughlin 75'); Batty, Honeyman (Toral 58'), Stewart; Wilks, Scott (Samuelson 58'), Eaves (Keane Lewis-Potter 58').
Substitutions (not used): Ingram, Burke, Bowler, Pennington, Magennis.